SCUTTLIN’ REALM 47: FREE DWARFS

The final match of Crossroads 2022 sees Cuddle Time rocketing up from the bottom tables to face The Other Canadian Team. Will the Cuddlers be able to finish strong and continue climbing the rankings, or will they find themselves consigned to the snuggle zone for another year?

ROUND FIVE: TEAM EAGER BEAVERS

  • Northern Alliance
  • Trident Realm
  • Free Dwarfs
  • Forces of Nature

Operating according to the plan, I put our Ogres into Trident Realm for the second time that day (SORRY DREW), gave our Ratkin the Forces of Nature and their air elementals (SORRY HUGGINS), the Riftforged faced Northern Alliance in a smashfest, and I ended up facing the Free Dwarfs.

Free Dwarfs 2300
Free Dwarf Rangers Regiment
Free Dwarf Rangers Regiment
*Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
*Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
*Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Ironclad Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Ironclad Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Ironclad Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Dwarf Lord on Large Beast – Blade of Slashing
Dwarf Lord on Large Beast – Mace of Crushing
*Free Dwarf Lord – Wings of Honeymaze, Lord’s Jewel [1]
Herneas the Hunter [1]
Free Dwarf Stone Priest – Bane Chant (2), Alchemist Curse [1] (3)
Dwarf Army Standard Bearer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

Have I really never reported a Free Dwarfs game?? Is it possible I’ve never faced them??? Regardless, I have faced off against everything but the formation before (it gives the flying Lord scout and brutal, and the Shieldbreakers get nimble and brutal and must purchase scout), so it’s not entirely unknown. I appreciate how high drop and regiment heavy his list is, plus it’s all FMC which makes all those bodies standout. The dude himself was relatively new to Kings – this was his first tournament away from his home town events (Hamilton, ON I believe) – and super nice.

We played Control, which I played 3 out of 4 games, often by choice. I wouldn’t have told you this was the go to for my list, but it makes sense, with how relatively little movement is involved and how much effect 23″ scoot-n-shoot units can have from the central sections. He scouted and then went first, in one of the only instances where I would have taken it πŸ˜‰

BATTLE

Battlelines! Also scouting phase!
Scouting flying heroes are really cool, cause if you get first turn you can … Oh no.

Free Dwarfs 1: The Dwarfs advance their non-scouting elements, including the dogs taking their place on the right. The real power move is obviously the Lord flying into the central Heartpiercers, booping them for 3 damage but more importantly a) turning off their shooting and b) trapping the other Heartpiercer unit behind them, which needed to move up to get into range and looks to be base to base with the booped unit. Ugh. The Coral Giant takes 2 damage from Herneas’ enormous crossbow and I think the Rangers back in the field.

Trident 1: The crabs are in no rush on the flanks, with the Kraken mostly rotating to menace some flanks in coming turns and/or project threat. Speaking of menace, the Coral Giant grimly rotates to help deal with the damn flying Lord next turn, which is easier thanks the trident Centurion landing 2 damage and grounding him. The two Heartpiercer units that can fire slam a respectable 5 damage into the first Ironclad regiment marching down the center of the board.

Free Dwarfs 2: The Lord stomps over to another Heartpiercer unit and bashes it for 2 damage, turning off its shooting and once again trapping that Heartpiercer unit behind it. Dammit. Herneas, the Rangers and the damaged Ironclad’s mastiff put the Coral Giant on 6 damage. Otherwise the Dwarfs continue to push the middle while redressing the right flank as my Sp 7+ threats scuttle closer.

Trident 2: I fight the urge to dive those Ironclad with the Coral Giant, instead sticking to the plan and charging the Dwarf Lord (with Hearpiercers counter-charging). Frustratingly the Lord only wavers on 10 damage, costing me another turn dealing with him. Available shooting shoves those Ironclad to 10 damage but they too refuse to break (or waver even). I’m content to waffle on the right flank as well while I figure out the center.

Free Dwarfs 3: The Dwarf battleline fully reforms as the Rangers step into place. Alchemist Curse from the Iron Priest, Herneas’ ballista, another Ironclad mastiff and possibly some Ranger shots put 8 damage on the left Kraken, which converts to a lucky 9-10 waver. Shooting is less effective against the right Kraken, where both Mastiff pack’s throwing mastiffs do 3ish damage.

Trident 3: Tired of waiting, I let rip on the right, sending the Water Elementals into the Ironclads in the woods and threading the Kraken into some Shieldbreakers. The brutal Centurion charges a Mastiff pack to hold it in place. While none of these combats break (Ironclads hold on 6, Shiledbreakers waver, Mastiffs hold on 3) I’m hopefully well positioned to grind for a couple turns. In the center, the Coral Giant finishes pounding the Dwarf Lord into the mud, and Heartpiercers see the damaged Ironclad off. The trident Centurion has a go at the left Dwarf Lord on Large Beast but De 6+ is too stronk.

Now we’re playing Kings!

Free Dwarfs 4: A lot of time goes into unpacking his options on the right, and we conclude that a) the Kraken cannot in fact be flanked by anything and b) the Kraken can’t corkscrew the Ironclad if the Shieldbreakers stay in its face. So: Rangers and Ironclad combo the Water Elementals (for 6 damage), and the brutal Centurion either takes 3 damage from the counter-charging Mastiffs or from two thrown mastiffs. If it was the former, then the mastiffs were probably tossed at the Kraken or the Placoderms but failed to do a wound. In the center, the Coral Giant holds his ground against the Free Dwarf shooting, sitting tight at 11 damage.

Trident 4: The sound of hungrily clacking claws can be heard as very large crabs plow into the Dwarfs. In the center, a Kraken rampages into some Ironclad as the Coral Giant smashes into their flank, while the trident Centurion holds off the DLOLB over there. On the right, the Water Elementals aim to finish off the other Ironclad and the Kraken prepares to brutalize the Shieldbreakers it had already softened up. The brutal Centurion meanwhile continues petting some dogs, brutally.

All four Heartpiercer regiments are finally allowed to shoot, and the rain of barbs puts 7 damage on the central Rangers and 1 on the regiment in the woods. In combat, all the Dwarf units rout, including the Mastiffs. The Water Elementals sidestep (CRAB. WALK.) to stay in front of the wood Rangers and the brutal Centurion overruns to try to help the right Kraken out, who is in quite a predicament with fighty Dwarfs to either flank. I end up overrunning with the big guy, which puts only a DLOLB in his flank and not Shieldbreakers as well. The slayer Centurion puts 1 damage on his DLOLB.

Free Dwarfs 5: With just a handful of minutes left on the clock, the Dwarfs swing for the fences. Both Dwarf Lords on Large Beasts charge Kraken, ensnared in the front on the left and happily in the flank on the right. Shieldbreakers double charge the brutal Centurion (one ensnared to the front, one clear in the flank and hoping for an overrun into the right Kraken’s other flank). And the Rangers in the wood take on the Water Elementals again (sitting on 6 damage), with the help of bane chant.

Dwarfs on Large Beasts vs Titanic Crabs

Herneas and his Rangers topple the Coral Giant with shooting, shortly before the rest of the Rangers hew down the Water Elemental horde. The Shieldbreakers only manage to waver the brutal Centurion, denying them their overrun into the right Kraken, which would certainly have helped as the right DLOLB only lands 3 damage out of 14 attaks on 3s and 2s. The DLOLB in the center does 2 damage to his Kraken. With that, the Free Dwarfs clock out.

Trident 5: With less than 5 minutes left, I send Heartpiercers into the bottom left section, claim the bottom right with Placoderms (I don’t bother swinging on the Mastiff pack in their face), and shoot the central Rangers off from the safety of the bottom center. The Kraken swing on the Large Beasts to little effect, but the US 1 of the central Kraken contests the DLOLB, meaning the Dwarfs only score the upper right with all three of their remaining regiments. At a score of 3 to 1, that’s a resounding …

TRIDENT VICTORY

It occurs to me that I might have charged the Dwarf ASB with my Kraken in the upper right, with an overrun that might have shot that Kraken into the upper center section, claiming it … but whatever, I was keeping it simple on account of time, burn out and already winning. My opponent was a pleasure to play and sounds like he learned some stuff from our game, which is always nice to hear. Hoping to see him at King Beyond the Wall next year, after missing it the last couple times.

Cuddle Time did well this round, I think winning 2-3 of our games. With a very solid Day 2 and a decent paint score, we actually ended up finishing 11th out of 20 teams! Which I’ll take any day. We also did quite well on Sports, I think getting second most sportsing? Awesome.

Ain’t kidding about that cuddling!

Big thanks to my fellow Cuddlers for another year of being cool and enjoying our race to the bottom. I’m especially proud that everybody but me painted brand new armies for the event! A fact I didn’t piece together until just now.


And thank you for reading! Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some reflection on playing Trident Realm for an entire tournament season, it’s certainly been an adventure but I could really use a break πŸ¦€

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 46: ORDER OF THE GREEN LADY

After a late night of playing Kill Team, watching board games, talking about Warmachine 4E and obligatory drinking, I passed out only to rise far too soon 😩 It’s Day 2 and time to slam into the bottom tables, Cuddle Time style.

ROUND FOUR: TEAM BIG DEAD ONE

  • Order of the Green Lady
  • Trident Realm
  • Empire of Dust
  • Undead

BDO was made up of two dudes whose team fell apart plus two of my clubmates (the Empire of Dust and the Undead (yes that’s Jeff from all my scrumming beforehand)). True to my captaining plans, I matched our Ogres into Trident Realm, Riftforged into Empire of Dust, Ratkin into Undead, and took the Order of the Green Lady for myself.

Brotherhood: Order of the Green Lady 2300
Order of the Forsaken Horde – Boots of Striding
Earth Elementals Horde
Earth Elementals Horde
Order of Redemption Regiment – Brew of Strength
Order of Redemption Regiment – Mead of Madness
Order of the Brotherhood – Banner of the Green Lady [1]
Naiad Ensnarers Regiment
Centaur Bray Hunters Troop
Centaur Bray Hunters Troop
Pegasus
Exemplar Redeemer – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Druid – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (2(4)), Bane Chant (2), Surge (4)
Devoted – Heal (3), Surge (7)

Bryant was super excited to play me, as we’d either always narrowly avoided each other or played once back in 2E or even Fantasy times. I’m a fan of his army, great Bretonnian feel and a faction I very rarely face. The list itself seemed legit? If hamstrung by cavalry’s middling place in this edition.

We played Pillage (or maybe Salt the Earth without any salting), with the Brotherhood going first one way or another.

BATTLE

Battlelines!

Green Lady 1: The Order canters forward, with caution on the wings and a trudging wall of rock in the center.

Trident 1: Crabs respond with a generalized scuttling. I’m content to make his life hell on the left flank, as he’s put a ton of points over there when the only token is the one on his side. Heartpiercers punch 2 damage onto the Centaur troop hanging out on the upper right token.

Bun Bun, Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, prepares to sate her hunger for crab flesh.

Green Lady 2: Indecision racks the Order’s lines, ultimately seeing the right advance a bit, the center widen its coverage, and the left mobilize Centaur chaff while preparing to thunder into combat next turn.

Trident 2: Placoderms advance on the right, being a terrible charge target for the cavalry over there, as I try to swap the Coral Giant and Water Elementals without touching the forest. Heartpiercers back up and put 6 damage on the strength Redemption reg on the right and 1 on the annoying Centaurs on the left. The slayer-trident Centurion fires at the Forsaken horde and fails to get a single damage, leaving them free to fly. What a champ. The Kraken don’t take the bait, letting the Order deal with their own chaff.

Bunny Pegasus with the #promove block.

Green Lady 3: While the right side of the Order line faffs around – and heals all the damage on the Redemption cav! – the left goes hard. Redemption knights (hindered) and Forsaken horde (striding boots) slam into the Kraken in the woods, ensnare be damned, as the Pegasus charges the other Kraken to block him up. Despite taking 11 damage, the multi-charged Kraken only wavers. And the Peg does a tight 3 damage from 3 attaks, nice.

Trident 3: The right arm of the crab war machine grudgingly pumps Heartpiercer rounds into the strength Redemption (2 damage, which I know will vanish), presents terrible Placoderm charges and unjams the Coral Giant / Water Elemental situation. We’re both still avoiding the LOS blocking void that is that forest.

Over on the left, the wavered Kraken skitters 4.5″ backwards and regenerates down to 3 damage (hahaha I love it). The other Kraken bops the Pegabun for 6 damage but flubs the rout (might have wavered her). Heartpiercers and trident Centurion combine fire into the Forsaken, doing a bunch of damage and wavering them. I’ll take it.

Kraken getting pumped to power lift a second time.

Green Lady 4: The Order pushes the center at last, with the strength Redemption finally giving up the right flank and skirting the woods to reinforce the middle. On the left, the mead Redemption charge back into the Kraken they’ve been hunting, with the support of the Forsaken again … which was illegal, as he forgot they were wavered and when we remembered during my turn, he rolled their headstrong test and failed it. The Kraken held solid on 10 damage (hindered and ensnared is rough), so vaguely a moot point, but Bryant tore himself up about it all game.

Trident 4: The whole Forsaken issue is cleared up when Bun Bun’s Kraken corkscrews their flank and smashes them into man/horse/bird parts. Heartpiercers from the center punch across and kill Bun Bun, while the trident Centurion strips the TC from the Brotherhood knights. The other Kraken counter-charges the mead Redemption, slapping 5 damage into them, but ominously only regening down to 8 damage himself.

Elsewhere, Placoderm invite the Order to have a go in the center, the Coral Giant breaks the wood line to become a Problem next turn, and the Water Elementals attempt to punch through the Exemplar Redeemer and into the flank of the strength Redemption. It’s a tall ask, so of course the gigantic crab/horde does next to no damage πŸ˜€

And finally, the Heartpiercers on the right skewer the Ensnarers that had dared to come into view around the house.

The sweet, sweet overrun that was not to be.

Green Lady 5: With about 10 minutes left on their clock, the Order lets rip. Mead Redemption and pathfinder Brotherhood knights on the left crash into a Kraken each, thunderous be damned. Both Earth Elemental hordes bash into the waiting claws of the Placoderms (one hindered), and the Redeemer counter-charges the Water Elementals.

It took three charges, but the Order of the Redemption finally drop the titanic crab beast they’d spent the game dueling. The other Kraken lucky wavers on 7 damage (box cars!), however that luck doesn’t hold for the Earth Elementals, which do a paltry 6 damage to the central Placoderms. The Redeemer carves 3 into the Water Elementals.

Trident 5: Vengeance is swift as the Water Elementals batter down the Redeemer, even if regrettably missing the ~4″ overrun into the strength Redemption regiment behind. No other combat is as decisive, with the Coral Giant tearing chunks out of one Earth Elemental horde, the Placoderms poking the other, and the central Heartpiercers and trident Centurion pushing the mead Redemption up to 10 damage but only finding a waver.

Green Lady 6: The last 4 minutes of the Order of the Green Lady’s clock is largely spent frantically rolling combat dice. (The mead Redemption reg failed their headstrong, though the strength Redemption hit the Water Elementals with Centaurs in the flank.)

The Water Elementals are triumphantly torn down, but that signals the last of the Order’s momentum. The Brotherhood knights waver their Kraken again and Earth Elementals waver the Placoderms and apparently do nothing at all against the Coral Giant (he may have clocked out before rolling it).

Trident 6: Heartpiercers shoot off the mead Order of the Retribution, the Coral Giant dunks his Earth Elemental horde, and the Heartpiercers on the right I believe tried and failed to remove the Centaur troop they started the game shooting at. With no Turn 7 and 3 objectives to 2, this is a decisive …

TRIDENT VICTORY

All told a very fun match against an enthusiastic player. Bryant was really down about his play not being clean that morning – the waver token, undoing moves without marking corners, etc – and despite me assuring him it was cool he felt pretty bad. Regardless, I hope to face him again some time in a non-team event.

Speaking of teams, Cuddle Time did very well this round, scoring the maximum 60 points or just shy of it. With this hearty bounce buoying our spirits we headed into the final match-ups.

UP NEXT: Eager Beavers!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 45: UNDEAD

The final round of the first day of the Crossroads GT sees Cuddle Time up against the other Western NY team. While I’m excited to play another match, I’m also totally happy with this being my last of the day, after working my other-other job the night before. Onto the carnage.

ROUND THREE: TEAM HARLEQUIN HOBBY

  • Forces of the Abyss
  • Goblins
  • Undead
  • Ogres

I put our elite Ratkin into trash-n-hammers Goblins, Riftforged into Abyss, Ogres into Ogres and faced the Undead myself. Partially because I’ve been fighting them all the time but also because check out his list:

Undead 2300
*Zombies Legion
*Zombies Legion
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Revenant Cavalry Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
*Goreblight
Vampire Lord – Surge (4)?
Ghoul Ghast – Aura (TC: Cannibal)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Aura (Vicious(Me): Zombie), Surge (6), Bane Chant (2)?
*The Shambling Blight Formation

I love it so much. Troop spam Undead is not a thing I thought I’d see, yet here it is, in all its pre-Soul Reaver nerf majesty. I’m almost positive I don’t have enough shooting to survive this – especially with the legions in there as well – but I’m excited to cause a mess at least. (I’m not 100% on the last 30 points of his list, so I’m guessing he took those spells, because I would.)

We played Control (second time for me!), and he’s a smart player so had me go first 😦

BATTLE

Battlelines! That central hill being a clutch 20th unit for the Undead.

Trident 1: The crabs scuttle forward, which may or may not have been a good idea since I know what the Undead are aiming to do to my poor crustaceans. If there’s a dim silver lining to the Zombie legions, my Water Elemental horde has sharpness and not strength entirely because De 2+ Zombies exist. So, um, no pressure on your upcoming lift, big guy.

Undead 1: Here they come! The living dead match the crab lines. Those Zombies in the upper left did remember to shamble forward eventually. Also the Necromancer is hiding behind that building in the upper right, as a horrible old crone animating corpses does.

Trident 2: I redress my lines a bit to accept the Undead’s imminent hugs, toss bastion on the central Placoderms, and fire all Heartpiercers available into the Rev Cav troop. Thankfully they crumble under the barrage – Rev Cav are notoriously hard for me to kill and I knew they’d drive me crazy if they survived. And that’s it.

Let the all you-can-blend crab buffet begin!

Undead 2: Ghouls and vampires charge up and over the central hill, crashing into the crabby lines. Ghouls and Ghast into the left Kraken, Ghouls into the brutal Centurion, double Ghouls into the central Kraken, and Soul Reavers into the bastioned Placoderms. The next wave of Soul Reavers prepare to clean up the mess once the Ghouls are dispatched, as the Zombies hove ever closer on the right.

The crabs stand firm, despite the damages: left Kraken to 6, brutal Centurion to 3, central Kraken to ?, Placoderms to 7. Time to clap back.

Trident 3: The Kraken both counter-charge and devour Ghoul troops, the brutal Centurion drives his Ghouls away, and the (bastion-less, thanks to the Envoy needing to run) Placoderms decide to hindered corkscrew the other Ghouls harassing the central Kraken instead of countering their Soul Reavers. The math is way better that they’ll actually do any damage, plus it means the Soul Reavers can be shot. As it turns out, the Placoderms do ZERO damage to the Ghouls, but Heartpiercers do stick 5 into the Soul Reavers. Other shooting grudgingly puts 1 point of damage on both Zombie legions, simply for lack of targets.

In more daring news, I decide after a long while to send the Water Elementals with Placoderm ‘support’ into the central Zombie regiment, as the overrun escapes the Zombie legion’s arc and I’ve basically decided I shouldn’t even start putting damage on the legions, as I don’t have the assets to seal either of those deals. The Zombie regiment does evaporate and my units do escape the Zombie’s arc … but come on dude, surge is totally a thing 😐 Also I shove some Heartpiercers in front of the right Zombie legion in the interest of buying time.

Undead 3: All five Soul Reaver Infantry troops make contact with their quarries: brutal Centurion, central Kraken, damaged Placoderm flank (with Ghouls in the front), other Placoderms, and Water Elemental. The Vampire Lord also skips over to the scuttlin’ Envoy, who has done nothing wrong ever. A Zombie legion (hindered) and the Goreblight lurch into the rightmost Heartpiercers as well, and, after a brief pause …

One Surge Later.

… the other Zombie legion rear charges the Water Elementals (hindered). Oh, and the Ghast charges back into the left Kraken.

After all the blending, everybody but the ensnaring dudes on the left are shredded and/or messily devoured. But sadly those same dudes – brutal Centurion and central Kraken – are both wavered (6 and 5 damage respectively). Losing fresh Placoderms to a Soul Reaver troop is pretty surprising, however having your inspiring source decapitated makes that a little more likely.

Trident 4: Things are getting squirrely with so many Undead threats still on the table and my momentum slipping away, but the crabs take what they can. Heartpiercers finish off the wounded Soul Reaver infantry, while spacing out for the inevitable Zombie legions baring down on them. The Coral Giant wakes from his slumber to pound the last of the Ghoul troops into jelly, and the left Kraken flanks some Soul Reavers only to waver them. I’ll take it. Also I regen a bunch.

Undead 4: Maybe I poorly measured the 10″ needed or maybe IDAGF at this point, but two Heartpiercers are flanked by Zombie legions (hindered) and the Goreblight (hindered) – honestly a surge may have been involved in one case, hard to tell. In vampiric news, the Vampire Lord somersaults into the trident Centurion in the pond as Soul Reavers power into the central Kraken and the Coral Giant. The Ghast also continues to be a pest, flanking the left Kraken for 1 damage (up to 3).

Inset: Crabs In Predicaments

RIP the central Kraken, killed before his time (the Soul Reavers back up). The Coral Giant however just takes it on the chin, going up to 6 damage. The trident Centurion successfully parries the Vampire Lord’s flurry of blows, taking 6 damage and holding. Of his Heartpiercer charges, one is mauled by the Goreblight and 60 friends, while the other takes only 2 damage and survives a Zombie legion flank.

Trident 5: The crabs break open a new box of stakes and prepare to slay some more vampires. Kraken re-flanks Soul Reavers with the brutal Centurion in the front, while the Coral Giant counter-charges his Soul Reavers with some commando Hearpiercers flanking them (hindered). The trident Centurion backs up, regenerating and daring the Vampire Lord to have another go, and the last of the functional Heartpiercers attempt to snipe out the Necromancer (but flub it with 1 damage).

Both combats go well, seeing two more Soul Reaver troops turned to ash.

Undead 5: The Goreblight wavers the swamp Heartpiercers (2 damage), the Vampire Lord wavers the trident Centurion (7 damage), and that damn Ghast wavers the Coral Giant (8 damage)! Those last Soul Reavers on the left rear charge the other Heartpiercers, turning them into mist. A Zombie legion balanced on a wall was in their front as well but whatever.

As this is a game of control, you can see the Zombies upper left and bottom right holding to their zones. Likewise the upper right Soul Reavers.

Trident 6: The remaining Kraken and brutal Centurion front charge the central Soul Reavers, slapping them around until their broke. Nice. The Centurion overruns to protect the Coral Giant (I don’t understand why the big guy didn’t turn to face the Zombies, maybe he did and I didn’t turn the model? Weird flex.) The trident Centurion stumbles back deeper into the swamp, again challenging the Vampire Lord.

Undead 6: The Zombie legion trips into the brutal Centurion (hindered and ensnared) and the Vampire Lord backflips off a stump into the trident Centurion.

While the brutal Centurion easily fends off the hug train of the Zombie legion, the Vampire Lord finally gets what he wants, skewering the trident Centurion, whose blue blood is brackish, cold and extremely dissatisfying. Speaking of dissatisfaction, the Goreblight’s (hindered) affections leave the Heartpiercers unmoved.

Trident 7: The crabs take this lucky last moment to get on the board, with the surviving Kraken scooting away into the lower left sector. The Coral Giant and brutal Centurion bash 9 damage onto the central Zombie legion but it’s not enough to clear them and their US4 out. The Heartpiercers also don’t magically remove the Goreblight accosting them.

Whatever the Undead did in their turn, they didn’t have the movement to secure any more Control sectors, making this 1 to 5 for a resounding …

TRIDENT LOSS

While I had hoped to do a little better, and might have with a different terrain setup or control of the initiative, it was fun to face a really dynamic Undead list doing something different. I goofed up with the Zombie legions a couple times, however I also didn’t allocate anything to deal with them, so having them essentially close out the win makes sense. Likewise that Ghoul Ghast who I disrespected the entire game and never swung on, but got that Coral Giant waver that took the last of my momentum away. Well played, deadites.

Cuddle Time once again did pretty poorly as a team, with a single victory (either the Riftforged or the Ratkin took it). This put us on a very low score for Day 1, something like 34 points out of a possible 180, but that just means we’d finally be getting the bottom table cuddle we signed up for πŸ˜‰

UP NEXT: The Big Dead One!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 44: HALFLINGS

Welcome to the first of four reports covering the 2022 Crossroads GT! Held in picturesque Elmira, NY, Crossroads kept up the four-player team format this year, with five 2300 point games of Kings of War over two days. Crossroads was also continuing to use Blackjack Scoring. I took up the mantle of Cuddle Captain once again for Team Cuddle Time, even though I sadly had to miss the first game due to a scheduling conflict the day before. A bummer to be sure, but there was another three-player team so it happened to work out without needing a ringer. Anyway, on to lists:

CUDDLE TIME III: THE REVENGE

Ratkin 2300
Shock Troops Horde – Plague Pots
Shock Troops Horde – Plague Pots
Nightmares Horde – Fire-Oil
Nightmares Horde
Mutant Rat-fiend
*Death Engine Spewer
*Shredder
*Shredder
Scudku-z’luk, Demonspawn of Diew [1] – Lightning Bolt (5)
Tangle [1] – Bane Chant (1+), Fireball (10+), Mind Fog (1+), Weakness (1+)
War Chief – Sacred Horn, Aura (Vicious(M): Infantry)
Brute Enforcer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness
*Smoke, Mirrors and Death Formation

Riftforged Orcs 2300
Helstrikers Horde
Helstrikers Horde
Riftforged Legionaries Horde
Riftforged Legionaries Horde
Reborn Legionaries Regiment – Orb of Towering Presence
Riftwalkers Troop
Riftwalkers Troop
Stormforged Shrine [1] – Bane Chant (1+), Host Shadowbeast (4+), Lightning Bolt (3+)
Ambarox
Ambarox
Thonaar [1]
Riftforger – Wings of Honeymaze, Stormstrike, Host Shadowbeast (6)
Stormcaller – Inspiring Talisman, Lightning Bolt (4), Mind Fog (3)

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Siege Breakers Horde – Staying Stone
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment – Boots of Striding
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Berserker Bully – Torc of Dissonance
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Scorched Earth (2)

(I did fix that Placo’s broken arm when I had a free moment …)

Trident Realm 2300
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Coral Giant
Naiad Centurion – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Trident of the Drowned Sea [1]
Naiad Centurion – Pipes of Terror
Naiad Envoy – Aura (Fury: Infantry & Heavy Infantry), Bastion [1] (2)

The Cuddle Time line up was, per usual, a mix of brawler lists with some shooting and control added for flavor (crab-flavored this time around). Crossroads has a match up phase at the start of each round, where matched up teams put forth two of their armies and the winner of a dice roll gets to decide which two will fight, while the loser decides which scenario they’ll play out of a limited pool for that round. Then the other two teams are presented and the roles reverse.

My goals as captain were a) to try to get my team scenarios that they were cool playing; b) to avoid putting a Me 4+ army into heavy ensnare; and c) to avoid personally fighting Ogres. That was about all my sleep-deprived brain could handle and I more or less accomplished all three … with apologies to our Ogre player, who spent most of the weekend fighting Trident Realm or Ogres 😐

ROUND ONE: TEAM COBRA KAI

  • The Herd
  • The Herd
  • Abyssal Dwarfs

I was driving to the event during the first round, but when I arrived I got the update that it had not gone great! Turns out my 5 point bye was our second highest score :/

ROUND TWO: TEAM BUFFALO KOW

  • Halflings
  • Orcs
  • Sylvan Kin
  • Riftforged Orcs

While I can’t remember who we fed to the Sylvan Kin, I do know we arranged a Riftoff πŸ˜€ And I ended up facing Halflings for possibly the first time ever …

Halflings 2300
Stalwarts Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Juggers Horde – Brew of Strength, Relentless
Juggers Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar, Relentless
Aeronauts Regiment – Wine of Elvenkind
Aeronauts Regiment – Brew of Haste
Braves Regiment
Braves Regiment
Iron Beast – Pride of the Shires [1]
Muster Captain on Winged Aralez – Aegis of the Elohi, Relentless
Gunnery Sergeant on Troll – Relentless
Gunnery Sergeant on Troll
Engineer – Aura (WC (+1): Tinker), Radiance of Life (Tinker), Gadgets and Gizmos [1], Halfling Long Rifle
Sauceror – Sacred Horn

Yowza, that’s a lot of special rules to remember – check out the quadruple upgrades on the Engineer, none of which are magic artefacts! I’ve spent enough time with the Halfling list, and hearing about the army in action, to know that the Aeronauts are the real menace here. Everything else is more or less a standard or slightly worse version of what it looks like. As an aside, the army was being piloted by a local dude (Tim?) who I haven’t played since Fantasy days and hadn’t really played much of third edition. He admitted to being an AOS guy but when the Crossroads AOS event fell apart he was recruited to help fill a team out. Regardless, he was a pleasure and I tried to point out any gotchas during our game.

We played Control, with the Halflings going first.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Also I did not realize that was a Jugger horde until he deployed it …

Halfings 1: The host sallies forth in a graceful crescent (roll) formation. Also the Engineer snipes 1 damage on the trident Centurion over on the right. The left Aeronauts are the Sp 8 ones, and while the right ones have nimble, I don’t believe it ever came up again.

Trident 1: A general scuttling in response, with Krakens flexing some charge distances and me regretting everything I put on the right. I hem and haw and decide to push hard on the right Aeronauts, bringing the Centurion into range. His slayer-trident and the Heartpiercers only stick 4 damage, failing to waver. Other shooting manage 1 damage on the Jugger regiment (after iron resolve) and 2 on the Stalwarts.

Ensnare and hindering be damned!

Halflings 2: The left flank jockeys for position as Braves are mobilized to get in the way, while the center slowly presses forward. Troll Sergeants pepper the left Placoderms and right Kraken with 1 damage each, and the Engineer does the same to the Water Elementals. The real action, sadly, is the Aeronauts plowing into the trident Centurion (let’s pretend he did 1 damage and grounded them) and blowing him the hell up. Irreducible blast Me 4+ is pretty neat, especially against -2 to hit.

Trident 2: I shake off the loss of my Very Cool Gun but am now doubly afraid of the left Aeronauts looming 18″ off my left flank. The brutal Centurion charges into the Muster Captain on Winged Aralez, grounding him (even if doing 0 damage after double IR) while I clear some room for the Coral Giant to do something eventually. Heartpiercers push the Jugger reg to 3 damage, the Pride of the Shires to 2 and the Stalwart horde to 3. Over on the right, I shove Heartpiercers into the Jugger horde to buy the Water Elementals some time (and do 1 damage in the process, despite being hindered <3). It’s a good thing too, because the Water Elementals only do 3-4 damage to the Aeronauts, but at least they waver the death zeppelins.

Halflings 3: The main story here is the Jugger horde feeding the Heartpiercers on the right to their dogs while the center advances more confidently and the Braves on the left continue to bait the crabs. The Muster Captain does 2 damage to the brutal Centurion and a Troll Sergeant plinks the left Placoderms up to 3 damage. We also remember that the Iron Beast has iron resolve, so remove its damage from previous turns. Finally, the Saucerer decides to do some Gastromancy – quite sure Rally (1) was on the menu.

Trident 3: I think for a long time (17 min left on my clock at the half way mark of the game!), and decide to crush his bait and give the left Aeronauts some of their own. Placoderms and Coral Giant smash the Braves, with CeeGee turning to face the center (spoiler: gunning for that Pride) and the Placos protecting his rear as the Kraken looms / prepares to be Aeronauted directly. The Centurion continues to ground the Muster Captain (and regenerate). In the center, more Placoderms (enjoying bastion) hold the Pride of the Shires in place so the Kraken can grind the Stalwarts down. They’re up to 10 damage but still have a ways to go. On the right, the Water Elementals finally finish off their Aeronauts and face the Jugger horde salivating in their direction.

Harpoons have of course been flying during all this combat: Heartpiercers finish off the Jugger reg to the left and start in on the right Brave regiment (looks like 4 damage worth).

Halflings 4: Perhaps wisely, the Aeronauts don’t take any of their available charges, leaving the Jugger horde the only fresh (hindered) charge into the Water Elementals. Many counter-charges happen across the board (Muster Captain to Centurion, Iron Beast to Placoderms, Stalwarts to Kraken), and gun fire pops into the left Placos (4 damage) and rightmost Heartpiercers (1 damage).

The Muster Captain lucky wavers the brutal Centurion, but damage is low across the board, with the Placos taking 4 and the Kraken 2. Oh, except of course the Water Elementals are pulled apart by the Juggers.

Trident 4: Wasting no time, the Coral Giant crashes into the flank of the Pride of the Shires, tearing it asunder, as the central Kraken gently rampages the Stalwarts up to 15 damage. Heartpiercers target the left Troll Sergeant (1 damage) and the surviving Braves (7 total) but really I’m left waiting to see what those Aeronauts are doing and willfully ignoring the Jugger horde out on the right flank.

You’ll notice that the left Kraken didn’t charge the Muster Captain and that the left Placoderms have wandered forward with the flying monster in their flank. I’m pretty sure I’m baiting the Aeronauts to have a go at the Placos so my Kraken can at least hold them in place for the rest of the game. If the Kraken had charged the fresh Muster Captain, he would have fluffed and been flanked by the Aeronauts.

Halflings 5: Able to fly free, the Muster Captain swoops into the flank of the left Placoderms, swinging for the fences and taking the hardy crabs off … but without the help of the Aeronauts, who continue to abstain. In the center, the Braves squeak past the building and flank the Kraken menacing the Stalwarts, but any damage to the titanic crustacean is minimal (4 total).

Trident 5: The drama on the left flank continues as the brutal Centurion and Kraken pounce on the victorious Muster Captain, yet can only manage 5 damage (7 before double resolve). The Coral Giant moves closer to supervise, freeing up space for the Placoderms in the center to flank and scatter the Stalwarts and the central Kraken to counter the Braves and spread them across the field. Heartpiercer fire goes into Troll Sergeants, however they’re hardy heroes.

Oh. No.

Halfling 6: Tim spies a gnarly overrun through the Centurion into the left Kraken, but it’s not to be as the brutal Centurion soaks a relatively light bombing run with only 5 damage. The Muster Captain meanwhile does 0-1 damage to the Kraken in his grill. The remnants of the Halfling army back out of LOS or they’re a Jugger horde who isn’t scared of a pillow-fisted Kraken charge.

Trident 6: The Coral Giant thunders into the flank of the Muster Captain, ripping him off his flying doggo and spiking the diminutive hero. His Aralez flies off to do best boy things in a less crabby land. This frees the left Kraken and brutal Centurion to finally take a crack at the Aeronauts, however 6 damage isn’t enough to matter. Otherwise the crabs secure their hold on the map, and I clock out.

With no Turn 7 and a 4 to 2 control score, this is a …

TRIDENT VICTORY

My opponent was a gent and I hope he went on to have a good time. As it turned out, I was the only win for Cuddle Time this round. Summoning the power of Even More Caffeine, I reracked the crabs and headed into the final match of the day.

UP NEXT: Harlequin Hobby!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 38-43: UNDEAD & OGRES

My club is sending sent several teams to the Crossroads GT this year (September 17-18, 2022), and in preparation we ground out practice matches as lists were dialed in, as you do. I figured I’d very quickly summarize them here in the name of completeness and catching up before the tournament coverage.

Trident Realm 2300
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Coral Giant
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Trident of the Drowned Sea [1]
Naiad Centurion – Pipes of Terror
Naiad Envoy – Horn of the Ocean’s Fury [1], Bastion (2) [1]

This is where my list ended up, tho in truth I was only messing with the second Centurion’s item. He had Rampage (D3) at first but I was finding it could potentially never be used, while Brutal works against everything, and may be mathematically superior when it comes to combo-charging with Kraken, for example. It also let me go full +1 to hit on the Water Elementals, which again is mathematically better if not as thematically pleasing as CS(2) on my biggest crab. I’m occasionally drawn to mess with the Envoy, but since the Fury aura doesn’t allow items it’s a choice between doing two Nv support things or one low level magic (spoiler: it would be Lute). So I chose two things and it’s rarely come into play BUT IT COULD.

GAME 38: UNDEAD

Kraken vs Wyrm!

Undead 2300
Revenants Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight
Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm – Inspiring Talisman, Plagued Breath
Liche King – Boots of Levitation, Surge (10), Alchemist’s Curse (4)
Liche King – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (6(8)), Scorched Earth (2)

My buddy Jeff has almost totally overhauled his Undead over the course of the year, while he’s learned more and more about the game and what it actually wants (like chaff). This is the end result of a lot of tinkering and quite a bit of painting, a sort of sack of hammers style list with some very fun models / units … in addition to the eye-melting amount of vampires. The version used for Game 38 has Zuinok Iceblood in place of one Liche King, 2x Rev Cav troops and the Soul Reaver Cav might be Rev Cav as well? Also no Goreblight, as she was being painted.

Looks like we played Plunder, a favorite of mine, and he made me go first 😦

Battlelines!

Apart from the RoUGBW sallying down a flank by itself, and getting dismantled by a Kraken + Axe Centurion over many turns, Jeff had some decent plans to chaff up my guns and get his blenders stuck in down the middle. The Wraiths drove me crazy per usual, and the Rev Cav troops proved how weirdly tough they are, while the cav regiment broke against the Placos and was dunked by the Coral Giant in the flank.

At some point, the game came down to the Rev horde plunging deep into the crab lines, grinding to a halt on some Heartpiercers and then getting flanked by two titans, reared by Placos and frontally charged by double Heartpiercers. Of course you can guess what happened:

Horde of Undead Heroes more like!

Aside: I have a lot of respect for Revenants, it’s rare to me that an anvil really feels like an anvil in KOW but De5+ -/24 with LL1-3 (Jeff always wants to run full LL on his hordes) is really solid. Anyway, this glorious last stand could only do so much, and with loads of tokens this was a solid …

TRIDENT VICTORY

So much for the Undead!

GAME 39: OGRES

Kraken vs Mammoth!

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde
Siege Breakers Horde
Boomers Horde
Warriors Regiment
Warriors Regiment
Warriors Regiment
Red Goblin Rabble Regiment
Mammoth – The Big Deal [1]
Crocodog Wrangler
Kuzlo & Madfall [1] – Enthral (5), Hex (3)
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Sergeant on Chariot
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), ???
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), ???

Plus 65 points of smart upgrades, Nv support for the Siege Breakers, etc. Murphy has been really down on making an Ogre army that’s interesting to him but still competitive, and you can see some of that in this list, which is essentially a meta list but with a couple B+ tier choices instead of just S tier. I’ve no idea what he ended up submitting for Crossroads, last I saw he was experimenting with Rabble spam Ogres with heavy Berserker Brave presence.

We played Push this game, he put all his tokens in the Rabble and I put 2 in the Placoderms across from them and 1 in the other Placos pushing for the center token.

Battelines!

The Ogres went a little too ham with the Big Deal, as seen earlier, but then I paid them back by going way too hard once the Warlock battery removed a Heartpiercer regiment about a turn earlier than expected:

The center cannot hold!

That didn’t turn out great for the Coral Giant, but I did lock Kuzlo down with a Kraken (losing the Kraken for several turns, since he couldn’t hit at all), and the Water Elementals were able to eat a Warlock before getting smashed by Siege Breakers + Boomers. As with most Ogre games, I was unable to put a dent in Siege Breakers, or if I did it was healed back by Noms, so I basically stopped trying and just tried to pull the Siege Breakers away from my token carriers. If they wanted to smash things, go smash things far away I guess.

That said, Kraken to the flank and rear can apparently kill Siege Breakers. The aren’t in fact immortal!

By Turn 6, I tenuously held 8 points in tokens while he just had 3, until I shot his Rabble out and brought the score to 8-0. He’d need a Turn 7 to be able to scoop up the tokens and some luck to crack two banged up Placoderm regiments, but the dice declared this one a …

TRIDENT VICTORY

So much for the Goblins!

GAME 40: OGRES

Kraken vs Crocodog!

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Siege Breakers Horde – Staying Stone
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Hunters Horde
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Crocodog Wrangler
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Conjurer’s Staff, Lightning Bolt (3+), Scorched Earth (2)
Sergeant – Trickster’s Wand [Hex (2)]

Yep, it’s Cory’s Ogres, fresh off of their run at Masters. The main change to the list was dropping the Boomer Chariot troop, which was apparently a constant victim at Masters, with De4+ and a low Nv being a bad combo with Ht 4 Stealthy or not. I think the Warrior Chariots were the inclusion in their place? With some slimming down of his hero selection. This feels pretty light on HQs compared to most Ogres, but they’re doing good support work, which is fine when you’ve got 5 hordes to do the lifting, plus the Chariot hammer.

I think we played Invade, judging by the lack of objectives. Ogres went first.

Battlelines!
Hunters and Braves one-round the Water Elementals, and in response the crabs unleash titans on the Boomers and Ogre center.

I find my Water Elemental horde often either gets killed without doing anything, or spends 3+ turns trapped behind my Heartpiercers being menacing but at least getting to punch something late game. This was the former. It definitely put me on the back foot, so I went hard in the center while delaying the left and hoping my shooting could fix problems asap.

Boomers die but the Kraken is savaged by Chariots, Siege Breakers and most importantly Noms in the flank …
A significant amount of the Ogre army has succumbed to death by harpoon, however it’s only the end of Turn 3 and the Ogre hordes are looking hungry.
*fast forwarding to Turn 7 sounds* So much for the crabs!

TRIDENT LOSS

It wasn’t until now that I realized I killed nothing in the last four turns of the game. Brutal indeed. Shout-out to the Crocodog, which devoured both the Envoy and the trident Centurion!

It’s a bummer that fighting Ogres feels like a foregone conclusion most times, and Cory’s list isn’t particularly bent (which is probably why it’s good), but I’m here for the few nerfs they’ve caught in the upcoming big red book. From what I know, Cory’s list here would lose maybe a regiment thanks to the Siege Breaker and Noms point increases. Seems legit.

GAME 41: OGRES

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath?
Siege Breakers Horde – <item?>
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste?
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment – Boots of Striding
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)?
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)?
Berserker Bully

Fellow Cuddler Drew 3D printed and feverishly painted an Ogre army using all Gnolls for Crossroads, so we had a proxy game at some point so he could test out an army that wasn’t Undead or Varangur, basically the only armies he’s played for KOW. I’ll figure out his final list by the time I write the tournament report and show you some shots of his finished army, which came out amazing despite not quite being done (so many spots!)

Anyway, here’s a very brief report in the name of completeness. We played Push, which I’m a fan of. Couldn’t tell you who went first 😐

Battlelines!
So much for the Gnollgres!

TRIDENT VICTORY

That proxy base on the wall might be the other Siege Breakers? Which means this is yet another Ogre game where the only units left are two Siege Breaker hordes refusing to die and slowly cleaning house. Long time readers will recognize that this is a startlingly common occurrence, kind of no matter what army I’m playing. I’m content to draw two conclusions: 1) Siege Breakers are really hard and that’s cool; 2) Siege Breakers really do deserve the points hike. Apart from that, I don’t remember really anything about the game other than Drew making some weird decisions and overextending a lot, not knowing how Ogres work.

Aside: I appreciate that the impending big red book is dealing with very good units like Gladestalkers and Siege Breakers by adjusting their points rather than nerfing them. Let people have powerful things … but also make them pay for it so there’s a trade off between them and other units. Internal balance was the single biggest reason I went to Kings after Fantasy was nuked from orbit, GW being truly horrible at it. But let’s move swiftly on.

GAME 42: UNDEAD

Coral Giant vs The Overwhelming Desire to Dive That Goreblight

Undead 2300
Revenants Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight
Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm – Inspiring Talisman, Plagued Breath
Liche King – Boots of Levitation, Surge (10), Alchemist’s Curse (4)
Liche King – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (6(8)), Scorched Earth (2)

It’s Jeff again! Running a list very close to the above, except with 2x Rev Cav troops instead of the Soul Reaver Cav. The dragon is standing in as the RoUGBW but the Goreblight has arrived in all her sexy / goriness.

We played Raze, because I like it and he wanted to practice it. Pretty sure I went second, as is my want.

Battlelines!
The Coral Giant dives the Goreblight, as his friends grind the Undead across the line.

TRIDENT DRAW

Those blank bases above are Rev Cav troops, which my Kraken utterly fluffed against turn after turn – which ended up being ok, as they were trapping Soul Reaver infantry behind them. This meant my army got to live a little longer, but it also meant my scenario-playing Kraken were trapped bopping skeletal horses or being mulched by vampires all game, instead of burning tokens. I ended up grabbing the center token and burning one of mine, while his Wraiths burnt a token early and the leftmost Soul Reavers glumly walked over to one Turn 6 and burnt it for the draw. Credit to Jeff on the draw!

GAME 43: UNDEAD

Fine, I’ll admit that this was taken for Instagram (@boss_salvage) and to show off Jeff’s painting (@winter.fyre)

Undead 2300
Revenants Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight
Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm – Inspiring Talisman, Plagued Breath
Liche King – Boots of Levitation, Surge (10), Alchemist’s Curse (4)
Liche King – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (6(8)), Scorched Earth (2)

Last battle before Crossroads and it’s Jeff’s Undead again! The dude is all about those reps, and while progress has been slow, he’s definitely learning. Let’s say he actually used the above list for this game. I’m sure I’m running Pipes on my other centurion now.

The game is Plunder, by popular demand. I think Jeff might have made me go first this time??

Turn 1 unpacking!

See that left Wraith troop? It would go on to collect 3 points of loot, as would my right most Kraken, leaving us to grind for the center in classic faux-dominate fashion. Speaking of, see that Revenant on Undead Classic Hydra barreling toward the center token? That’s going to be more of a problem than I anticipated.

Placoderms trying so hard to do work / keep things engaged so the Coral Giant can hold onto that loot.

It seems crazy that I’d leave 10 damage floating on that RoUGBW, but I had been pounding shots into it for the first half of the game and just could not land that double break, while the heal (8) Liche King kept cleaning up my hard work. Although the Wyrm itself isn’t all that important (apart from gunning for my token), it did mean I didn’t have the shots I need to take care of vampiric Undead as they gamboled forward to do a blend.

Tryhard Placoderms paying for their hubris. So much for Placos!

While we ground for the center, the woods to the left were the site of real drama. I hammered anything I could spare into the Soul Reaver Cav, but between the cover and the Wyrm demanding my attention I got very little done. Eventually the Water Elementals got involved, failed to break Soul Reavers and got mulched. The Placos above grabbed a flank on Soul Reavers, did next to nothing thanks to 5+ to hit, and got sandwiched as above. At this point I could dedicate shooting to the SRC but failed to break – I rolled 3+ snake eyes this game and I’m pretty sure the Wyrm and SRC enjoyed at least two of them.

TRIDENT LOSS

A deserved win to Jeff at last, I think this is the first time he’s beat me. A lot of my loss felt like being bludgeoned by my dice, but I also really like his list and it was good to see the Soul Reaver Cav return after a long absence, even if they ironically spent the whole game in hindered or counter-charging in a wood πŸ˜€


Thanks for sitting through those catch up games, sorry about the brevity but I wanted to log them before the Crossroads GT report, which should be happening before the big red book hits at the end of this month. October is a very busy time for me but I’m not really gaming as we wait for updates to hit, so it feels like time to clear the report queue.

UP NEXT: Cuddle Time III

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 36-37: ORC TOWN DAY 2

After a lovely evening of raiding Cape Cod and playing arcade games at Skull Face’s pad, we were back at the Cape Cod Curling Club for another day at Orc Town. I’m unexpectedly on Table 3 or 4 facing off against Corey Reynolds, a Masters-tier player who also runs the Crossroads GT (which kicks off in just a few days of writing this!) The last time I played Corey was in Philly on the top table in the last round of a WHFB GT, where I conceded because I had no chance of doing anything to his Wood Elves once they broke through my Skaven lines and I wanted to drive home. Coincidentally that was the last time I’ve conceded :X

GAME FOUR: TWILIGHT KIN

Twilight Kin 2600
Blade Dancer Neophytes Horde
Twilight Gladestalkers Regiment
Twilight Gladestalkers Regiment
Impalers Regiment – Brew of Strength
Impalers Regiment
Cronebound Fiends Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Cronebound Fiends Regiment
Cronebound Shadowhounds Troop
Cronebound Gargoyles Troop
Cronebound Gargoyles Troop
Cronebound Mind-Screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6)
Cronebound Mind-Screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6)
Cronebound Archfiend – Fireball (10)
Mikayel, Lord of Nightmares [1]
Soulbane on Dread-Fiend

Naturally Corey is playing his Twilight Kin 😐 It’s certainly not the worst TK list, with blessedly zero levels of Host Shadowbeast, plus it looks amazing hobby-wise. But it’s still TK – even his ‘Cool New Model Added to Hit 2600 Points’, the Archfiend, is an absolute unit against me thanks to Stealthy. Corey is adamant I have more of a chance than I think but there’s only one way to find out …

We’re playing Kill, which is a bummer in general and especially against his list. Stealthy will make it hard to kill with my shooting, and that’s how my list usually kills :/ Corey is going first. Here’s the rundown (head back to 34/35):

The Kin pushed hard into the center and then the left side, which involved a lot of playing peek-a-boo around that leftmost forest as grinding happened towards the center. A grind which I didn’t win but I did kill his Archfiend with my Coral Giant, and we all know I love a clash of the titans.

I felt a lot more confident on the right flank, however his shooting was far more effective than mine, and my double Kraken rush got bogged down with Gargoyles and dismantled by an unexpected Impaler counter. I also lost my Placos by woefully underestimating Twilight Gladestalkers in combat – poison melee, even hindered, does work! However you slice it, this was a big …

TRIDENT LOSS

In talking about it afterwards, Corey felt I should have just put all my guns on the right side and really forced down his Gladestalkers, and then put all the titans together on the left and gone full square base monster mash. I’m genuinely curious if that would have worked, as I so often try to spread things out when the game rewards focused aggression whenever possible. Ah well.

With that drubbing I plummet down the tables to face the Glacier King and friends in …

GAME FIVE: NORTHERN ALLIANCE

None shall pass!

Northern Alliance 2600
Frostfang Cavalry Horde
Ice Elementals Horde
Ice Elementals Horde
Huscarls Regiment
Tundra Wolves Regiment
Ice Kin Hunters Troop
Half-Elf Berserkers Troop
Cavern Dweller
Ice Kin Bolt Thrower
Lord on Chimera
Hrimm, Legendary Ice Giant [1]
Ice-Queen – Surge (8), ???
Skald

There are 160 points of missing upgrades which I assure you exist and are smart, I just don’t have a list or much memory of the match left πŸ˜› It’s a very unassuming list piloted by the youngest member of the New England War Kings, however he was in the running for highest attrition so was clearly putting work in the violence department!

The final game was Loot with 3 tokens, with the Alliance going first. Here’s the play by play (start on 41/42 and prepare for glamour shots of Hrimm doing stuff since I love that model):

I felt pretty strong going into this, as NoAl are relatively weak, the list seems a bit unfocused and I’m a more seasoned player. WELL that started to change Turn 2, when he alpha-ed the Water Elementals with his Frostfang and central Heartpiercers with his Chimera and routed both with solo charges. That’s not really supposed to happen, y’all, and it split my battleline, voided the traps I’d set and made me scramble to deal with these hammers instead of having time to whittle down the Frostbound stuff shuffling toward me. The flanking Kraken also ran into embarrassing predicaments, with the right one getting stuck fighting Wolves for half the game and the left one eventually being shot to death by a troop of Ice Kin Hunters and a single Ice Kin Bolt Thrower :O I had to golf clap those guys, but WOW.

Despite these setbacks, the Crabs did take their pound of cold flesh over the course of the game, but losing hammers so early made it hard going. A fun, bloody game to end the tournament. Oh right, and a …

TRIDENT LOSS

My opponent would go on to win a trophy for highest attrition! I’m sure the 2135 points I gave him here helped πŸ¦€

After a meteoric first day, I’m sure I was ending up somewhere in the middle, maybe higher-mid if my soft scores were good. We assembled for the endless raffle as points were furiously tallied up, and I came away with the swag I really wanted, which is always nice.

Finally, Orc Town is known for its awesome trophies, so all that was left was to see who walked away with them:

I’ll cut to the chase: I won Best Sports! As voted by my five opponents, which makes the award even more humbling. Big thanks to all those lads and to the hardworking maniacs in NEWK, I was already looking forward to next year but this time I guess I have something to live up to ❀

Orc Town GT 2022 Best Sports (with Stack of Swag + Bountiful Breads)

Thanks for reading through these recaps, sorry they weren’t the full write-ups I usually do. I’ll make another pre-Crossroads post this week gesturing towards the practice games I’ve had between Orc Town and now, but otherwise get hype for me eventually writing up another set of tournament reports in the near future!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 33-35: ORC TOWN DAY 1

What is up, Bloodfirers! Hope your summer was a good one, mine became very busy with lots of traveling and a side of COVID (I’m quad-vaxed so that Omicron is a beast). Sadly my reporting (and to large extent gaming as well) was a casualty of all this busy-ness. To get up to speed, I’m going to do Day 1 and Day 2 recaps for the Orc Town GT, with slideshows for the full games for those who want to click through. Strap in!

Orc Town was a 2600 point two day event held on Cape Cod, MA from June 4-5, 2022. I took a deep breath, painted two more crabs, and rolled out with the following:

KAIJU BIG BATTEL!

Trident Realm 2600
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Strength
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Coral Giant
Kraken
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Naiad Centurion – Axe of the Giant Slayer
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2), Horn of the Ocean’s Fury
Naiad Envoy – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

Coral Giant and double Centurions were the standouts for this slobber knocker of a list, with the Lute of Insatiable Darkness making a return and the Trident of the Drowned Sea left in the armory.

GAME ONE: LEAGUE OF RHORDIA

League of Rhordia 2600
Knights Horde – Boots of Striding
Knights Regiment – Brew of Strength
Honor Guard Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar
Dogs of War Horde – Chant of Hate, Beasts of Targun Spire [1]
Dogs of War Regiment – Shields of Hetronburg [1]
Spear Phalanx Regiment – Pikes
Mounted Scouts Troop
Mounted Scouts Troop
Duke on Ancient Winged Aralez
Duke on Ancient Winged Aralez
Duke Hetronburg [1]
Battle Shrine [1] – Lightning Bolt (6)
Wizard – Conjuring Staff, Bane Chant (2), Lightning Bolt (3)
Wizard – Shroud of the Saint, Lightning Bolt (3)
Halfling Master Sergeant on Pony

Kevin and I were talking at the last Unplugged GT and realized we haven’t played each other since 2E, and simultaneously grudged each other for Orc Town πŸ˜€ The general feeling going into this was that I had an advantage, with so much Rampage, but he’s got some extremely punchy stuff and the support to deliver it.

Looks like this game was Salt the Earth, with the League going first. Here’s a rundown of the game (you’ll need to click back to 29/33 and then move forward, these are uploaded in chronological order and I can’t reverse them easily):

If that seems short, we only made it through four turns of the 69 cute minutes we each had to work with, and that’s including going over into lunch. I don’t know how we were soooo slow but I blame being out of practice and extra chummy, on top of the huge armies. Anyway, this grudge match came down to a very gregarious …

DRAW

All told a great way to start the event, even if I was a little shook at the clock 😐

GAME TWO: ELVES

Elves 2600
Drakon Riders Horde – Banner of Eternal Darkness
Forest Shamblers Horde
Stormwind Cavalry Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar, Quicksilver Lancers [1]
Stormwind Cavalry Regiment – Brew of Strength
Palace Guard Regiment – Brew of Sharpness
Kindred Gladestalkers Regiment – Orb of Towering Presence
Kindred Gladestalkers Regiment
Silverbreeze Cavalry Troop – Piercing Arrow
Hunters of the Wild Troop
Hunters of the Wild Troop
Tydarion Dragonlord [1]
King’s Champion [1]
Elven Archmage – Inspiring Talisman, Bane Chant (2), Lightning Bolt (5)
Elven Archmage – The Boomstick, Lightning Bolt (5)

If these green Elves look familiar, it’s because I played Jim back at Dead of Winter, making 2022 the magical year where I played him twice! This is typically a once-a-year event for us. As to the list, seems legit? Lots of nice Elven tools backed up by Jim’s frighteningly good dice. Would I be able to stay on scenario and shake off my slow play from the first game?

The game is Push – I’m sending 2 tokens up with some Placoderms and 1 token hard right on Heartpiercers, while the Elves put 2 on the Palace Guard and 1 on the regular Stormwind hard left. Importantly, Jim’s not really making a play for the center, while I’m flooding it with more Placos and ‘Piercers, with the Coral Giant looming. Crabs go first, possibly by choice since it’s Push and so many Elves have scouted forward. Here’s the rundown (click back to 30/31):

For those who clicked through, you might have noticed the crabs became really passive at the end of the game? I clocked out at the end of my Turn 5 … Fortunately Orc Town had a rule where you were still allowed to change facing in your turn, so I was able to both protect my flanks on my token holders and keep that ensnare in play, even if I couldn’t regen since nothing was actually activating. Thanks to a decisive lead going into Turn 6, I was able to weather two back to back turns of Elven aggression (and blessedly no Turn 7) to hold onto my …

TRIDENT VICTORY

I think one of the deciding factors of this game was his Drakons floating about in the middle without a clear plan of engagement, which let me shoot them to hell while dismantling his scouting forces. At the same time, two Kraken and a wood held back his strong cavalry + dragonlord flank, as they were tasked with from the beginning. However it worked out, Jim’s always a pleasure to play, even if his dice often give me fits πŸ˜›

GAME THREE: OGRES

Ogres 2600
Warrior Chariots Legion – Potion of the Caterpillar
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Siege Breakers Horde – Dwarven Ale
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Boomers Horde
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Spitters Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Giant
Sergeant on Chariot – Blade of Slashing
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3), Heal (4), Lightning Bolt (4)
Warlock – Conjurer’s Staff, Lightning Bolt (3)
Warlock – Orb of Towering Presence, Lightning Bolt (3)
Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3)

Ahhhh Ogres, it was always going to happen, but at least it’s a rematch with Josh and his awesome Moontian army. Not a ton to say on the list, it’s got lots of gnarly stuff with smart items, with a Chariot legion and Giant for flare. Josh seemed pretty down on his performance so far, and I suppose he didn’t exactly burn the world down if we were playing each other in Game 3? Like me, he seemed pretty out of practice and generally tired. All the same, we were here to make war, so war we did.

We’re playing Dominate this game, which is nice for the Ogres anyway πŸ˜€ At this point I confide in Josh that I don’t fancy my chances but I do have one goal. I want my shiny new Coral Giant to kill his shiny new Giant, at which point we’re going to go do shots at the venue’s bar. And then the killing started (click back to 36/37):

Wait wait wait, rewind! Ok, it’s Turn 4, his Giant has spent a couple turns aggro-ing some Heartpiercers while my Coral Giant is stuck on Scouts:

I back the Heartpiercers out, then flank his 1 damage Giant with my Coral Giant. I slam fistfuls of damage into the titan, roll the rout and nail it, reroll and fail by one … and then remember this guy is brutal! I flip out and we go shoot some tequila. Amazing.

And this was after baiting his Chariots in against my Placos in a swamp, who held and completely messed up his plans, getting flanked by Kraken and helping me takeover the momentum of the game, something that’s really difficult for my Crabs against Ogres. The game goes back and forth into Turn 7, when somehow I manage a …

TRIDENT VICTORY

What. A. Game. This was the most fun I’ve had against 3E Ogres in a while – the called shot with the Coral Giant certainly helped πŸ˜‰ Crazily enough, this win also put me at 5th or so place in the GT at the end of the first day! A clubmate asked what was different this event than usual, and I’m pretty sure it’s that I hadn’t switched armies. The Crabs, even more so than standard Trident Realm, are a weird combination of denial, shooting and scenario play, but staying in that space has helped me learn some of the rhythms required instead of just getting frustrated and jumping factions.

UP NEXT: Day 2 kicks off bright and early with Mr. 300 himself!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 32: UNDEAD

Gentle readers! I had the great pleasure of attending the Orc Town GT June 4-5 (2022) but then became mired in life and work upon returning home, however next week I’ll have a breather and will attempt to pound all the reports out. In the meantime, here’s abbreviated coverage of my token practice game before the GT. Enjoy!

Trident Realm 2600
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Strength
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Coral Giant
Kraken
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Naiad Centurion – Axe of the Giant Slayer
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2), Horn of the Ocean’s Fury
Naiad Envoy – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

You read that right, 2600 points! I used the bounty of points to finally paint my Coral Giant and second Centurion, which was coincidentally all I could possibly have painted in May, the busiest month of my year thus far 😐 The list itself became a bit of a Kaiju Big Battel affair, with the return of the third Kraken, escorted by the double anti-big stuff Centurions. Also note worthy is the return of the lute, an item I’d moved away from but the Placoderms spending so much time in combat had convinced me to bring it back.

Undead 2600
Wights Horde
Wights Horde
Zombies Horde – Undead Giant Rats
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Item?
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – Item?
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – Item?
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – Item?
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Lady Ilona – Enthral (5), Heal (3), Lightning Bolt (3), Surge (3)
Vampire Lord on Undead Horse – Surge (4)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Heal (3)

After a furious month of painting vampire infantry, my buddy was super excited to play an Undead list that fit his temperament a bit better. If and when he hit combat, he could be assured that it would hurt. I was happy to see the triple Wraiths too, he’s gone from zero chaff pieces to figuring out more and more ways to use them to control the game. Helps that Wraiths are super great. Also Ilona is here!

We played Push, and he must have won the first turn and cannily gave it to me πŸ˜› Strap in, this is going to be largely pictorial!

BATTLE

Battlelines! I have a Kraken hanging out hard left as well, and all 3 push tokens are in the left Placoderms. My heroes go Lute > Bastion > Blade > Axe from left to right. For the Undead, the Necro us behind the Zombies on left, Ilona is central, horse Vamp to the right. His tokens are 1 in the Zombies and 2 in a Soul Reaver unit in the middle. Also check out the shadow the Coral Giant is casting πŸ˜€
Trident 1: Scuttlin’!
Doing a menace!
Undead 1: A very timid advance, or lack thereof in the center! The right had to spend some time unjamming itself after deploying with bases interlocked.
Trident 2: Double Kraken pound into Wraiths on the right as a lot of harpoon guns come into range of the central Wights.
The left Wights take a startling 10 damage, and the right Wraiths are decidedly busted.
One Kraken backs up 3″ while the other prepares to get Soul Reavered. Will ensnare be enough to save him from their blood lust?
Undead 2: Becoming aware that he can’t play a waiting game against my shooting, the Undead general makes moves to pressure the center. Wraiths become a nuisance on the left and vampires crash into Krakens on the right.
The Soul Reavers tear 11 damage into the right Kraken, wavering the big guy. Meanwhile the Vamp Lord blocks the left Kraken from coming to his aid, dealing 3 damage in the process. Smart.
Trident 3: Kraken and Placoderms prepare to shoo away from Wraiths far left, harpoons lock and load centrally to end some Wights, and the Krakens on the right largely regenerate, although the Vamp Lord is indeed counter-charged.
One Heartpiercer unit is all that’s needed to drive the Wights off, so the other two regiments hammer 8 damage into the other Wights. Harpoons on fire tonight! The Wraiths on the left are also pinched into ectoplasm, while the Vamp Lord on the right takes token damage as a Kraken rampages him gently.
Undead 3: Another mangled Wight horde moves up into the central killing field! As the Soul Reavers behind them continue to sort their lives out. Wraiths are surged into the flank of the 3 token Placoderms on the left (will they punish my hubris??), and on the right the Soul Reaver Infantry hit their Kraken again while the Vamp Lord continues to pin his buddy down.
It will blend!
That poor Kraken disintegrates 😦 But the Placoderms weather the Wraith flank to the tune of 3 damage.
Trident 4: Kraken and Placoderms on the left prepare to drop another Wraith regiment, while the crab center likewise spots another Wight horde in their cross hairs. On the right, the surviving Kraken backs up rather then be flanked by the Soul Reavers what ate his brother (he was in their flank but couldn’t place thanks to the mighty Vamp Lord, so couldn’t front charge and try to grind). The slayer Centurion charges the Vamp Lord to keep him occupied / preferably dead.
Those Wights do indeed get ventilated, and the Soul Reaver Cav cop 3 damage in the process. Neither combat is decisive (Wraiths to 4, Vamp Lord to 5).
Lady Ilona stands defiant!
Undead 4: The Undead hammers finally begin descending, by which I mean the Zombies flanking the 3 token Placoderms (over a wall). But also Wraiths counter the left Kraken, Soul Reaver Cav hit some Heartpiercers, Ilona blocks the Coral Giant, the Vamp Lord continues to harass the right Kraken, and the right Soul Reavers prepare to blend the slayer Centurion – no ensnare in the flank πŸ˜₯
Those Heartpiercers get properly reaved, but all other combats are less decisive. The real anomaly is the Soul Reaver Infantry on the right only wavering the Centurion in the flank! Unexpected!
Trident 5: The center pincers around the Soul Reaver Cav, with Water Elementals in the flank and Placoderms to the front. Otherwise it’s a lot of counter-charging across the board, or bringing guns to bear on the lurking Soul Reaver Infantry in the middle. The token-bearing Placoderms on the left take a risk and show their rear to the Wraiths, countering the Zombies.
Heartpiercers punch 6 damage into some Soul Reavers, wavering them (!), shortly before the Soul Reaver Cav are crushed to true-death by enormous claws. The left Wraiths are indeed rampaged away by the Kraken (thanks lute Envoy for the bane chant!), while the Zombies, Ilona and Vamp Lord all take their lumps. The Vamp Lord wavers in the process (on 8 damage). Oh, and the central Placoderms scoop up the central token.
Undead 5: If the Soul Reavers can blend out the crab center while the Zombies hold, they can actually pull this off. Luckily I hear Soul Reaver are pretty great at blending … To wit, the 2 token Soul Reavers dive into the Water Elementals, while the right Soul Reavers hit the slayer Centurion again (ensnared this time), Ilona continues to distract the Coral Giant on his first outing, and the Zombies counter the 3 token Placoderms. The Vamp Lord gets out of the Kraken’s LOS so he can live.
All the combats stall, which is bad for central momentum but honestly pretty ok on the flanks. The Soul Reavers waver the Centurion again, the Zombies stunningly push the Placos to 8 damage, wavering them, and the central Soul Reavers do a mathematically average 11 damage and don’t rout the Water Elementals.
Trident 6: On the left, the Placoderms retreat to let the Kraken have a go at the Zombies. On the right, the Centurion backs out to likewise let a Kraken rampage the Soul Reavers. Centrally, the Water Elementals counter their Soul Reavers as guns target the injured unit behind them. Ilona gets bopped.
Heartpiercers riddle the Soul Reavers with harpoons, adding them to the pile of dead undead in the center of the board. All the combats grind on (Zombies to 9, central Reavers to 4, right Reavers to 8?), with Ilona wavering on 6 damage.
Undead 6: With a Turn 7 victory still possible, the Undead do what they set out to in the first place: murder some crabs. Zombies counter the left Kraken, Soul Reavers counter the Water Elementals, more Soul Reavers counter the right Kraken, with Vamp Lord in the flank. Ilona simmers with rage (but not fury :P)
The Water Elementals explode and the Soul Reavers lurch forward, but not enough to cross the center line. With no Turn 7 and a score of 7 to 3, this is a solid …

SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY

You know, I think I’ve got this ‘shoot the Undead as much as possible’ strat down πŸ˜€ But it certainly helped that the Undead didn’t push into the center until it was too late to overwhelm me effectively, while tripping over themselves on the right. The Undead general had some good tactics to protect the Soul Reavers on the way in, but holding them back meant that while they might be more likely to reach combat, they’d also have to work extra hard to wrest the momentum back.

Anyway, that’s Orc Town practice out of the way! Stay tuned next week when we wade into the warm waters of Cape Code for a weekend of carnage.

UP FIRST: League of Rhordia!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 31: DWARFS

Last game of Unplugged 2022 and I’m up against Pat and his gorgeous Dwarfs, as was very likely our destiny. We face each other at just about every tournament we’re at, and it’s a minor miracle that we missed each other at Dead of Winter back in February. He’s changed things up since we played at Crossroads 2021, but then COK22 has hit since then as well.

Dwarfs 1995
*Ironclad Horde – Throwing Mastiff, Hammer of Measured Force
Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar
*Bulwarkers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
*Bulwarkers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Sharpshooters Troop
Sharpshooters Troop
Sharpshooters Troop
Steel Behemoth – Golloch’s Fury
Berserker Lord on Brock – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Stone Priest – Ej Periscope, Radiance of Life, Mind Fog (3), Scorched Earth (3)
*Dwarf Army Standard Bearer
*The Royal Guard Formation

For those not in the know, the Dwarf formation adds +1 Me and Nv and gives the ASB aura (Elite (Melee) Infantry) and Very Inspiring. I’m going to say that qualifies as very rad. Around this core are a cloud of shooty chaff/scenario pieces, a fast flanking force and one serious shooty / buffing monster-chariot. Altogether a tight Dwarf build looking to keep up with the meta.

Final round was Control, with the Dwarfs going first one way or another.

BATTLE

Battlelines! My heroes are Centurion > Bastion > Hex.
Dwarfs 1: Roll out! Sharpshooters target the left Placoderms (no regen + no cover) and a central Heartpiercer unit (no cover).
It’s distressingly effective! 2 and 5 damage respectively.
Trident 1: The big crabs move into menacing positions while Heartpiercers take aim at the left Bulwarkers (a ‘softer’ Dwarf unit :P), doing them 5 damage. Also that one unit regens back to 1 damage.
Dwarfs 2: The heavy center shores up its line to avoid any sneaky flanks, and the left flank shuffles a bit to keep the Brocks safe and bring their dogs up. Sharpshooters tag a couple more damage on the left Placoderms (to 4) and those damaged Heartpiercers (to 3), and the Stone Priest whips scorched earth on my Water Elemental horde to blunt potential double charges with the Kraken.
Trident 2: I press the issue on the left, moving Placoderms up (secure in their phalanx) with the Kraken providing pressure. The Heartpiercers over there stick 4 damage onto the pups and waver them, stopping them from tossing their smaller, angrier dog next turn.
Speaking of dog violence, on the right I see an opening and punch a Kraken into a Mastiff pack, exploding them and turning to be a problem for the Dwarf castle. I’ll note right now that I’m quite concerned about having the big lug running around without inspiring, however the Dwarf options for dealing with him at range are quite low, and he is a big boy. Centrally, Heartpiercers continue raining barbs into the left Bulwarkers, pushing them to 9 damage.
Dwarfs 3: I’m getting pretty nervous about a mass throwing mastiff event – last time we played Pay deleted a fresh Shambler horde with 5-6 dogs – but he’d have to overcommit to make that happen / I’ve been keeping his Mastiff units occupied. For example, the rightmost pups rear charge my aggro Kraken 😐 On the left, the Brock lord flanks the other Kraken, keen to use his beast slayer blade.
The dulcet tones of hubris can be heard tolling across the field.
A single mastiff does not a dog tossin’ festival make.
When the smoke clears, Sharpshooters waver the left Placoderms (on 5 damage) and combine fire with a throwing mastiff to do 4 to the other Placoderms. The Brock lord rips 5 damage into the left Kraken, while the brutal Mastiff rear charge on the other Kraken only does 2 (27 on 5+/4+ but also they fluffed quite badly).
Trident 3: On the left, the Kraken can easily get to the corner of the Brock Riders, so goes for it. The Heartpiercers and Centurion move up in support / to end the Mastiff menace on that flank. On the right, I continue to be both aware that I’ll have to grind the Ironclad to kill it and that it will very likely kill whatever it swings at. But I also remember just how slow Dwarfs are … The Placoderms saunter up to tempt the Bulwarkers or better yet pressure the horde if the Heartpiercers can end them this turn. The Kraken on the right deigns to front charge the Bulwarkers who had turned just enough to face him, instead sidestepping to continue to be a problem and potentially crack that Dwarf backfield.
Shooting does see those Bulwarkers off on the right, but a snake eyes on the leftmost Mastiffs keeps them in the game on 13 damage. In combat, the Kraken does an acceptable 7 damage to the Brock Riders.
Dwarfs 4: The Kraken on the left is countered by Brock Riders, flanked by (devastated) Mastiffs and reared by the Brock Lord. No pressure, buddy. The Kraken on the right is faced by Bulwarkers and Mastiffs, as you can hear the sound of throwing mastiffs powering up … The Ironclad wander forward, keeping threats in their front arc, as Golloch’s Fury continues to hover within firing range of the Placoderms (who it was probably shooting occasionally, to limited effect).
Kraken in Predicaments: Part One
Kraken in Predicaments: Part Two
Sharpshooters remove the left Placoderms with some spicy Nv dice (!), and the right Placoderms are pushed to 5 damage by more Sharpshooters and likely Golloch’s. The right Kraken weathers the storm of dogs fine. In combat, the left Kraken is savaged up to 15 damage but holds with nary a waver.
Trident 4: With enough blood in the water (crabby or otherwise), I guess it’s finally time to really go to work. On the left, the Kraken counters the Brock Riders (and regenerates 11 damage), Heartpiercers rear charge the mangled Mastiffs and the Centurion duels the Brock Lord. On the right, the Water Elementals launch out of the woods into the flank of the Bulwarkers, with the Centurion thundering the 1″ into their front. The Placoderms attempt to back away from the Ironclad but ironically can’t escape their reach, so a Heartpiercer unit sprints forward to jam them up.
The shooting I have goes into the Ironclad, for 2 damage, iron resolved to 1 and radianced off next turn :/ In combat, the Brock Riders and Mastiffs are driven off, tho the Brock Lord takes a single damage because Centurion. The Bulwarkers on the right are shattered and the big crabs turn to thoroughly complicate the Dwarf castle.
Dwarfs 5: While he may be running low on units, the Dwarf general still has quite a lot of guns at his disposal, as well as US. The Ironclad shrug and head into the Heartpiercers offered up to them, the last of the Mastiff packs pounces on the hex Envoy babysitting the big crabs (ensared + hindered), and the Brock Lord grimly hefts his blade and charges the left Kraken before it launches into the Sharpshooters.
Sharpshooters and maybe also Golloch crack the right Placoderms, bastion be damned! Then in combat the Ironclad pulp the Heartpiercers and the Brock Lord does a solid 5 damage to the left Kraken, lucky wavering it and saving the left flank for at least another turn. Bravo, slayer! Oh, the hex Envoy takes no damage from the Mastiffs harrying it.
Trident 5: Still not wanting anything to do with the Ironclad horde, the Water Elementals flank charge Golloch’s Fury and the right Kraken skitters into the flank of some Sharpshooters. The hex Envoy scampers away from the Mastiffs to tempt the Ironclad into wasting time. On the left, the Heartpiercers back up because somebody has to score the back left section and those Sharpshooters are scary, but also they prepare to shoot the Brock Lord with the Centurion’s help. And because of course he did, the left Kraken regenerates all 9 damage on him.
Shooting skewers the Brock Lord to 3 damage, the Stone Priest to 3 (wavered!) and the Mastiff pack to 3 as well. In combat, the Water Elementals hammer 12 damage into Golloch’s Fury, wavering it, shortly before the Kraken rampages through the Sharpshooters and prepares for the next one in line.
Dwarfs 6: Golloch’s Fury headstrongs and counters the Water Elementals, as the Brock Lord charges the left Kraken again. The Ironclad push forward to claim my central section and toss their dog at some Heartpiercers, the Mastiffs hopefully position themselves in the bottom right section, and Sharpshooters scoot around to claim sections or face their towering destructors.
#kaijubigbattle
The Ironclad’s mastiff does 2 damage to the Heartpiercers, then the Brock Lord and Golloch do a respectable 5 damage to their targets, if to no effect.
Trident 6: The left Kraken smashes the flank of the top left Sharpshooters, claiming that section. The Water Elementals overwhelm Golloch’s Fury, claiming my two point section regardless of how the Kraken did front charging the Sharpshooters. Heartpiercers give the Ironclad a wide berth, shooting Stone Priest and Mastiffs in the process (possibly unto death, not that they could contest, at all or enough). With 5 points to 2, and no Turn 7, this was a very solid …

SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (20-0)

While this dunking couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, it felt good to get a heavy win and feel like I played competently while doing so. I certainly showed more patience with my punchy stuff than maybe ever, and while my Heartpiercers didn’t dictate the game as in the last match, I used them as the scenario pieces I designed the army around, which is a good feel of its own. I’m sure Pat and I will rematch soon enough πŸ˜€

So with this big win I ended up 2-2-1, getting the 50% record I always try for. Happily I also got 4th best sports, which helped put me at I think 11 of 18 in the final ranking? Not bad at all for how heavy the field was.

Thanks for reading all these, and big thanks to the crew at Unplugged Gamers for putting the GT on. I’m thrilled I could make it out after a few years away, looking forward to next year.

UP NEXT: 2600 points of mayhem at the Orc Town GT early June!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 30: UNDEAD

Unplugged Day Two dawns with me up against my clubmate and tournament bunk buddy Drew and his Undead. We’ve scrummed a number of times, but never at 1995? And certainly not with his shiny new Werewolves or Wraiths.

Undead 1995
Wights Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar
Wights Horde – Boots of Striding
Wights Horde – Fire-Oil
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – Staying Stone
Werewolves Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – Surge (4)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Heal (3)
Necromancer – Surge (6), Heal (3)

I continue to be shocked by how good Wights are, tho I probably shouldn’t be at this point πŸ˜› He’s replaced his Ghoul chaff with Wraith chaff and swapped out excessive Zombie regiments with a half pack of Werewolves looking to do things like move at the double. I’m surprised he’s done so poorly to be down here with me but I think he had some hard match-ups in day one.

Fourth round was Salt the Earth, again with tokens pre-placed on the map. The Undead went first, either because he’s slow or I wanted to shoot his dudes.

BATTLE

Battlelines! So clean and fresh. His inspiring Necromancer is centrally behind some Wraiths and next to Wights. My heroes are Centurion > Bastion > Hex.
Undead 1: A general moaning can be heard as the deadites drift forward, with the exception of the Soul Reavers who take advantage of their vitality to jog ahead of the army. The Vampasus is lurking behind the tower and facing to my left.
Trident 1: Kraken angle in on the flanks, but mostly I bring 40 Heartpiercer harpoon guns to bear on the Soul Reaver Infantry …
… and delete the bloodthirsty scourge 😀 (A very average 10 damage followed by a very average 7 to rout. He lamented not having inspiring near them and had me reroll out of curiosity, and of course I got the 5 that with staying stone would have been nothing.)
Undead 2: The ghosts drift up, with the Werewolves protecting the flank of the rightmost Wights. The wolves go ahead and burn that token on the hill while they’re at it, as do the Wraiths in the forest on the left.
Trident 2: I do something that I rarely do and back up. And feel dirty in the process, but hey, I’ve got guns and the Undead are slow and want to murder me in combat. But I’m still me tho and launch the right Kraken into the Werewolves, because a) killing them isn’t crazy (one shot at an 8-10 Nv test), b) killing the Wights next to them isn’t crazy with Heartpiercers (one shot at a 10), c) hexing one of the Necros makes a flank surge more dicey, d) even if the Kraken dies next turn, more of my guns will be unengaged for another turn.
Heartpiercers stick 2-3 damage on the left Wights and 5 on the right ones, for all the good it does. Hex fails to hit a Necromancer as well. In combat, the Kraken only does 3 damage and there’s no lucky 11 rout to save him. Sigh. Would have been much better to rotate him in and let the Werewolves make the decision of where to charge, then either counter them or slowly grind.
Coming attraction for the next episode of ‘Kraken in Predicaments’ …
Undead 3: The dead make contact with the crabby lines at last. Wraiths block up the left Kraken and Water Elementals, as Wights and Vampasus prepare to dunk the left Placoderms, phalanx be damned. The right Kraken is countered by Werewolves and sadly flanked by Wights, thanks to a stellar 4+ surge when he needed 1″. The show off.
The poor right Kraken explodes into crab parts, however the rest of the combats hold tight, with the Kraken taking 4 (!), Placos 6 and Water Elementals 1 damage.
Trident 3: The grind has begun, even if there are more Wights on the table than I had hoped. The Kraken counters the Wraiths (grudgingly), the Placoderms counter the Vampasus with the Centurion charging the left Wights to sit them down / body block, and the Water Elementals counter the other Wraiths (grudgingly). The right, shooty arm of the crab line shores up any flying / surge flank shenanigans.
Heartpiercers push the right Wights from 4 damage to dead, and stick the inspiring Necro for 1 damage, lucky wavering him! The Placoderms snip 4 damage on the Vampasus, the Wraiths take some damage but hold frustratingly, and the Centurion does 0 damage to the left Wights, leaving them free to fly where they will :O
Undead 4: Some very careful measuring later, and the left Wights end up front charging the (uninspired) Kraken with the Wraiths countering. Likewise the central Wights combo into the Water Elemental horde with the other Wraiths. The Vampasus counters the Placoderms (grudgingly), and the Werewolves end up charging into the pond into the other Placoderms, maybe to protect the Wights’ flank if they don’t one round the Water Elementals.
Except Wights are combat gods (especially when they’ve got Fire-Oil vs regening Water Elementals), and the mega crab bites it. The Kraken takes 12 damage and blessedly wavers (WHEW), while both Placoderms take 2 damage and hold (up to 8 vs the Vampasus).
Trident 4: The Kraken disengages and furiously regens down to 6 damage, as the Centurion prepares to sit the left Wights down with his trident and the Placoderms counter the Vampasus. The Heartpiercers to their right charge some Wraiths to sit them down, and the other Placoderms back away from the Werewolves so they can be ventilated by all those Heartpiercers.
Which they are, quite handily. The Centurion does manage to sit down the left Wights (1 damage!), and in combat the Heartpiercers likewise sit down their Wraiths (3 damage total). But I’ll stop burying the lead: the Placoderms kill the Vampasus! Totally unexpected. They take the moment to turn and face the Wights about to kill the Kraken next turn.
Undead 5: Despite my wealth of Heartpiercers, Drew’s still got two very fresh Wight hordes and two very functional Wraith troops to kill me with, plus his Zombies just casually winning the game in his deployment zone. On the left, Wraiths and Wights charge the wounded Kraken. In the center, Wraiths float sideways and prepare a stomach-churningly easy surge into the bastion Envoy and very easy overrun into some Heartpiercers …
Act 1, Scene 1
Act 1, Scene 2
Act 2, Scene 1
Apart from the Envoy getting nuked, the combats go better than anticipated, with both the Kraken and Heartpiercers holding! On 13 and 8 damage respectively. Drew sees those Placoderm flanks/rears and declares the game over, especially if those things can kill a Vampasus 😦
Trident 5: Hindered or not, no way I’m passing up those Wight underbellies! Placoderms and Centurion hit the left Wights in the flank (Kraken backs off and regens down to 6), and other Placoderms rear charge the other Wights (Heartpiercers back off and regen down to 4). The Heartpiercers mobilize, with one unit powering forward to make a Turn 6 play for the center token.
The inspiring Necromancer is shot down, and the other is hexed (FINALLY) but then wavered as well. In combat, neither Wight unit takes much damage – 5 to the left horde and just 3 to the rear-charged horde. Woof. I also take the opportunity to burn the token in the left forest, which I had been debating all game.
Undead 6: With the Placos unable to stop their reign of terror, the ghosts continue their assault on the living. Wraiths charge the Kraken once more, as the left Wights counter the Centurion, looking to overrun into the Placoderms (8 damage) who are reared by more Wraiths. The central Wights ignore the Placoderms to their rear and continue on into the Heartpiercers to their front.
Another horrific montage later and Centurion, Placoderms and Heartpiercers are all dead. (Editorial Note: That 0″ overrun feels pretty bad, but then again the Wights are less than 50/50 that they kill the Centurion. Tho don’t tell Drew’s dice, he was hitting like a madman all game.) The Kraken finally avoids being wavered tho!
Trident 6: I scoot those Heartpiercers to the center, drawing the game, even if there’s some attempted murder to be had. The Kraken swings into the left Wraiths and the Placoderms front charge the central Wights. Neither combat really does much, but both units are grounded, which is nice. The surviving Necro is hexed and wavered again by some Heartpiercers.
Undead 7: On the left, the Wights and Wraiths combo charge the Kraken again, except this time he’s completely regenerated, if uninspired. In the center, we keep that feel good ghost combo going, with Wights and Wraiths hitting the Placoderms (in retrospect this doesn’t seem legal, as I don’t think the Wraiths could draw LOS to the teeny 2.5mm of base peeping around the Wights; surge would make it possible to sidestep the Wights, charge the Wraiths and surge the Wights, but the Necro was out of commission).
At long last, the second Kraken falls 😦 Also the Placoderms die.
Trident 7: My last gasp play is to shoot off those right Zombies, however I only do 1 damage so can’t even spike the box cars victory. I spitefully pour the rest of the Heartpiercers into the central Wights, pushing them to 8 damage but I can’t sink the 9 to rout them. With 2 tokens each, this is decidedly a …

DRAW (10-10)

What. A. Journey. I felt like this was a breakthrough game for me where my deployment was sound and I fully recognized my shooting advantage and really made the most of it. Throwing the right Kraken away was a bummer and would have changed the game wildly if I held onto him, although I really wanted him to dive into the Undead backfield to clear out those Zombies / force him to burn those tokens I otherwise couldn’t get to. Also Wights are frustratingly good and make surge just so much more viable than it usually is (in my head), but you certainly pay for it. Wraiths on the other hand, damn, that’s some value right there. Finally, I’m more and more convinced that I need Lute back in the list, more than I need the trident, almost entirely because it helps the Placoderms do anything. Spoilers I guess for my next list.

UP NEXT: Dwarfs!